Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland, sent the following message to University staff and students today (11 June 2021):
"Dear students and colleagues,
Next week, the University of Iceland will celebrate its 110th anniversary with a special event on the date itself, Independence Day 17 June, at 9 am. This event will be live streamed, with further celebrations to follow in the autumn. From the outset, the University has aimed to improve the quality of life in Iceland, since our experience of over a century demonstrates that knowledge is our most important asset as we face whatever the future may bring. We will continue to seek new knowledge for the benefit of the nation and look forward to coming together to celebrate this remarkable milestone, not least in the autumn, when hopefully we will be able to fully reopen the University.
Next week is also the annual forum, at which the our new comprehensive strategy for the next five years will be presented, as well as the award for enterprise and leadership at the University. The new strategy is entitled 'Better University – Better Society' and will guide our work over the next few years in order to strengthen our links with industry and society. We also aim to raise standards in all areas of our operations. Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir, the Minister of Education, Science and Culture, will deliver an address at the annual forum, which will be held in the Aula next Monday between 8.30 and 9.30. The forum will be live streamed.
One of the most valuable assets for a university is public trust. The University of Iceland is an institution that enjoys high levels of trust from the Icelandic public, in accordance with annual Gallup polls. Trust can never be taken for granted. It is based on the integrity and high standards in everything we do and on your remarkable diligence, dear students and colleagues. This trust is manifested in a high number of applications to the University. This spring, almost ten thousand people applied to enrol in undergraduate and graduate programmes in the next academic year. This is the second highest number of applications the University of Iceland has ever received. The University works in an international environment and our inclusion in global university rankings is testament to our success, which has led to an ever-increasing level of interest from prospective international students. It comes as no surprise that international applications have increased by 15% compared to last year.
After the weekend, the campus will be buzzing with life as students in the University of Youth flock to enjoy the programme's wide range of educational opportunities. I am particularly delighted that the University of Youth was able to go ahead, following the restrictions and closures of the past year due to the pandemic. Although the reopening of society comes as a relief to us all, we must continue to take infection control seriously in order to consolidate the success we have achieved so far.
Graduation ceremonies will take place, as previously announced, in Laugardalshöll on 19 June. There will be two separate ceremonies.
Let's enjoy the weekend as best we can, dear students and colleagues, and remember to take care.
Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector"